Saturday, July 19

Hamas infiltrates Israel and attacks army patrol, injuring Israeli soldiers

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas fighters infiltrated the southern Israeli region of Eshkol through a tunnel on Saturday and attacked an Israeli army patrol, injuring two soldiers in the ensuing firefight.

The Israeli military said in a statement that Palestinian fighters opened fire with machine guns and an anti-tank missile,  wounding two soldiers in the patrol.

Israeli news site Haaretz, meanwhile, reported that four soldiers were injured in the attack, two "lightly."

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli media reported the sound of explosions and intense clashes in the southern Israeli region of Eshkol.

Israeli Channel 10 warned Israelis not to enter the region, highlighting that the focus of the conflict was in northern Eshkol, near the central Gaza Strip.

The military wing of Hamas said earlier on Saturday morning that it had breached "enemy lines" in the northern Gaza Strip and had engaged Israeli forces.

The al-Qassam Brigades said that they had managed to infiltrate Israeli lines in the area, which has witnessed heavy fighting since the beginning of the Israeli ground invasion late Thursday.

Three Israeli soldiers were reported injured in clashes in northern Gaza Saturday morning and transferred to Suruka hospital inside Israel, but it was unclear if the incidents were related.

Palestinian fighters have injured at least 12 Israeli soldiers since the ground invasion began late Thursday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman who is down playing for the Israeli Government she did not have any information on the incident, but said rockets had hit the region.

Israeli media reported that a rocket struck Eshkol around 11 a.m. on Saturday and caused a fire, while two other rockets fell in Dimona without causing damage.

Since Israel commenced hostilities on the Gaza Strip 12 days ago, over 321 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,200 wounded in the Israeli bombardment.

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